Shellpak blister packaging could boost medication adherence, study finds

RICHMOND, Va. — Patients who used a calendar blister packaging system for their medications showed greater medication adherence than those using traditional vials, according to a new study published in the journal Clinical Therapeutics.

The study, which used pharmacy dispensing data on 3.1 million pharmacy patients taking generic medications for cardiovascular diseases, found that MeadWestvaco’s Shellpak blister packaging increased the likelihood that they would get refills on their prescriptions. For example, new medication users increased the average length of their therapies by nine days over a year, while ongoing users increased it by five days, and those taking fixed-dose combination formulations of two medications in a single tablet increased it by 12 to 17 days.

In addition, patients using Shellpak were more likely to reach “full refill adherence” at least 80% of days covered with medication in a year than those using vials, with the greatest effect seen in new medication users.

“We know there are many factors affecting medication adherence, and we know that the most successful solutions will involve multiple components,” study author and life sciences research consultancy Venebio founder Lenn Murrelle said. “What’s exciting about this study is that medication packaging alone was found to have a positive effect on medication refill behavior.”

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